Alberta has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But in a new post from the Montreal Economic Institute, Krystle Wittevrongel highlights some good news: the province is forecast to have the strongest economic rebound of all provinces, with an anticipated 7.2 percent gain in real GDP for 2021.
Addressing the challenges of 2020 and looking ahead to a brighter future, Alberta’s Recovery Plan lays out an ambitious strategy for the province. And while it is set to include a specific sector plan for agriculture and forestry that will focus on attracting investment, expanding export opportunities, and developing infrastructure, those details are still forthcoming.
As Wittevrongel notes, there is an easy low-hanging fruit to pluck here that must be considered: reducing the unnecessary red tape hampering industry and the sector overall. This is essential to facilitating investment in this sector, she writes.
“The province could start by streamlining application processes, both in the agricultural sector and in the beef industry, in order to make applying for permits, licenses, and projects more efficient. Unclear applications and processes and a labyrinth of red tape lead to uncertainty, and research shows that increasing uncertainty leads in turn to decreased investment. Reducing uncertainty and risk for investors will therefore stimulate investment by making Alberta a more attractive destination for their dollars.”
Good progress has been on this front to date, with the ministry of Red Tape Reduction having so far reduced red tape in the province by 16.7 percent, with an overall goal of a one-third total reduction.